NOTE: This was first published back in 2015. I’m moving content over to my new blog and really loved seeing how my approach to makerspaces has grown and evolved over time. 2015 was a pivotal year for me and my journey towards my current role as Director of Innovation 🙂
We built the Labrary to be a community space for students and faculty to pursue interests, explore ideas, and experiment with new tools and materials.
Every day, the Labrary is filled with the frenetic (some would say chaotic!) energy of self-directed learning and discovery as students throw themselves feet-first into discovering something new. This is not a place of passivity. And while it’s amazing to watch how fearlessly they tackle the unknown, my favorite part of the whole thing is how it’s organically become a center of spontaneous collaboration. Whether it’s recess, Labrary class, or study hall, students are naturally and seamlessly supporting each others’ learning. Questions are directed not at me, but at each other. And, boy, do they have questions! Free from the expectations of what they “should” know, students are empowered to voice their questions without feeling judged.
On the flip side, I’ve been amazed to see how graciously and generously students share their knowledge with one another in the Labrary. They are proud to demonstrate their expertise and enjoy helping others find success.
But the Labrary can’t be constrained by the school day. Its mission and vision extend beyond dismissal and encompass all members of our community. Our Makerspace Evening Events™ offer opportunities for parents and their children to design and build things together.
In addition, the Labrary is a space for faculty to explore new tools and materials as they develop lesson plans and learning experiences for their students. The large open space and easy access to tools make it an ideal place for teams to conduct formal and informal professional learning activities.
The Labrary is a happening place on campus for many reasons, not least of which is community-centered learning that is at the heart of all we do. In many ways, it is the embodiment of the school’s mission to help students discover and develop what is finest in themselves in their studies, play, character.